TCHO Chocolate Review

I’ve followed and tasted TCHO since they started with their “Beta” versions of their chocolate.  They say many things on their website and in their marketing and have a lot of smooth talk.

    “TCHO is where technology meets chocolate; where Silicon Valley start-up meets San Francisco food culture.”
    “TCHO is obsessively good dark chocolate.”

At the 2011 San Francisco NASFT Fancy Food Show I stopped by the booth and sampled the cacao nibs.  They were disgusting.  The flavors were overwhelming and just plain gross.  Bitter.  Sour.  Dirty.  Nasty.  My eyes snapped shut, my face contorted and I reeled in discomfort.  I bee-lined for something to cleanse my palate and wash away the horrible flavors in my mouth.

I also tried their chocolate again recently.  Yes, I am a glutton for punishment.  It has a sharp snap and didn’t melt well.  It sat on my tongue begging me to chew.  When I finally did chew, it sounded like I was eating potato chips.  The flavors are decent, but nothing to make me say Wo_oW or make my tongue dance.

    “Chocolatey” has a roasted, dry taste which boarders on dry dirt.
    “Fruity” is bright, but a little too fruity with a sour note at the end that didn’t sit well with me.
    “Nutty” was more mellow and offered roasted notes of nuts and coffee.  Nutty was probably my favorite.

For all of their obsessiveness, TCHO really lags behind many of the other bean-to-bar makers.  Amano Chocolate, Askinosie Chocolate, Rogue Chocolatier, Claudio Corallo and Original Beans all make such superior chocolate with much fewer resources at their disposal.  Guess you need more than money to make good chocolate, huh?

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8 Responses to TCHO Chocolate Review

  1. I’ve read that one of TCHO’s main goals is to become a supplier to restaurants and pastry chefs, so their chocolate might be more crafted for baking (that is, consistency rather than impressive flavor notes is the aim).

    • Hi Victoria! How interesting…I don’t think I have heard that, but it may very well be true. If TCHO wants to compete in the restaurant arena, they’ll still have to step it up. Brands like Valrhona and E. Guittard offer both wonderful flavor and consistency, which is a win-win for the taste buds.

  2. cybele says:

    I agree with your assessments, a lot of flash & sizzle, very little to back it up in the quality of the product. Any company that makes one of their selling points the fact that their factory is within the city of San Francisco, kind of makes me wonder about what they think it takes to make good chocolate.

    I think the only thing they have going for them is the social responsibility aspect. I trust that Amano is paying fair prices for their cacao, but I can’t say for sure with Valrhona. E. Guittard has a very limited line of fair trade products (though I like them).

    • Hi Cybele,
      Thanks for stopping by to check out the post! I got a chance to try some truly delicious E. Guittard chocolate at a chef’s event last year. I still think about that wonderful chocolate, but it is only available to chefs. If I remember the name of it, I will post it here.

  3. kevin says:

    Thanks for the truth about chocolate.. The additional cocoa butter also reflects on a company’s commitment to quality since it is the pricey item on the list. Also please take note of the new Fresco chocolate bean to bar company, very good. I totally agree with the TCHO assesments.

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